Police are teaching staff at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, how to fight back against armed school intruders, according to WDIV-TV — and using hockey pucks to do it.
Sorry, hockey pucks?
Yes, hockey pucks.
The station reported that the training sessions were organized by the university's faculty union and were conducted by Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon.
The American Association of University Professors, the school's faculty union, said that the concept is an effort to make the environment safer for students and faculty.
"We believe that once faculty have been trained in what to do in an active shooter situation, they will be able to share that information with students to provide a more secure learning environment," AAUP President Tom Discenna said.
Gordon said that in addition to the training, faculty and students will be armed with hockey pucks to fight back against a potential active shooter.
According to the station, "Hockey pucks provide the ability to be carried in brief cases or backpacks, are not considered a weapon, and will meet the goal of distracting the shooter."
A heavy item — like a hockey puck — could be effective against an intruder, according to Gordon.
So far, the faculty union has distributed about 800 pucks to its members, and aims to distribute an additional 1,700 pucks to students at the university.
The pucks serve a dual purpose in this case: they're also being used as a fundraiser to equip the campus doors with a specialized lock that can be utilized without having to leave the room during an emergency or lockdown situation.
What are people saying about this?
The Detroit News reported that Gordon was inspired to incorporate the pucks into the training after a "training session he was giving earlier this year on surviving an active shooter situation."
The outlet also reported that Gordon spoke to students about the concept of using pucks and explained that he'd experienced being hit by a puck himself as a youth hockey coach.
"[It] caused a fair amount of damage to me," Gordon said. "Anything that you can throw that’s heavy and will cause damage, cause injury is the bottom line of what you’re trying to do. [A hockey puck] was just a thing that was suggested that could possibly work, especially when you have 20 or 30 people in a classroom and they all throw hockey pucks at the same time, it would be quite the distraction."
Garry Gilbert, the university's journalism director, is also on board with the concept.
"If we have to [fight], Chief Gordon has shown us you can surprise or disarm an assailant with an object. Grab anything you've got ... a stapler or book ... anything you've got and be prepared to charge him."
Officials told the outlet that the pucks were considered a "last resort" option.